More than two in five school leaders and RE teachers have received requests for students to be withdrawn from teaching about one religion, research from Liverpool Hope University has revealed. The Independent reports.
Islam is the dominant focus of these parental withdrawal requests, according to the study of 450 school leaders and heads of RE.
One participant, who received requests for children to be withdrawn from mosque visits, said: “The students that have been removed are the ones that need to understand different cultures the most.”
The majority (71 per cent) of teachers believe a law allowing parents to withdraw their children from RE is no longer required, according to the study in the British Journal of Religious Education.
Iman Atta, director of Tell MAMA, an activist group which records and measures anti-Muslim incidents in Britain, told The Independent, said: “We have been hearing about cases where parents are pulling their children out of mosque visits as part of religious education since they do not want them to be near a mosque.
“This has been taking place over the last five years and shows that there are parents who have fears or dislike Islam. This is also concerning since what kinds of views are their children being exposed to. It does not beckon well for the future of people and communities living together”.
“Cases of parents withdrawing selectively from teaching of one religion, predominantly Islam, were often presented by participants as representing a hostility and intolerance to those of other faiths,” the new research says.
But it concludes: “While it was true that Islam’s prominence as a target for withdrawal implies prejudice, our findings suggest that teachers saw the reasons for this withdrawal as misunderstanding more than prejudice.”
Have parents withdrawn their children from RE at your school? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.
We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!